Google Keyword

Google Keyword Planner – what is it and how does it work?

Google may have made regular changes over the year with algorithm updates, but one thing has remained consistent – keyword research or the process of discovering and analysing the search terms people type into search engines when they are looking for something. This insight can inform both your content and marketing strategies, and tell you what your customers care about. If you have a better idea of what people are searching for, you can drive more traffic to your website.

The Keyword Planner is a Google Ads function for established and new advertisers. It’s free, although you’ll need a Google Ads account to use it. What is Google Ads and Pay Per Click.

Think of it as a workshop for building new pay-per-click campaigns. Use it to look for keywords and assess how a particular list of them could perform. The tool can also help when it comes to picking budgets and competitive bids.

Using Keyword Planner

You’re given two options to get started:

  • Find keywords – For getting ideas for keywords so you can reach potential new customers who may be interested in what you have to offer
  • Get search volume and forecasts – See metrics for your keywords, and learn how they could perform in the future

Find keywords

Simply follow the instructions to enter phrases, words or a link related to what you do – and Google will then come up with some suggestions for keywords – up to a few thousand of them.

You can also do your bit by inputting up to 10 seed keywords or phrases.

Get search volume and forecasts

If you’ve already got a list of keywords for which you want to see the metrics, paste them in, then select ‘Get started’ to go to the forecasts section. This shows you the numbers of clicks and impressions to expect if you run ads for your selected keywords over the next month or so.

At the same time, Click-Through Rate (CTC), estimated costs and Cost-per-Click (CPC) are also displayed.

Tips for using Keyword Planner

  • Consider installing the free Chrome extension Keywords Everywhere to add search volumes to Keyword Planner
  • See what keyword suggestions your competitors are using by pasting in one of their URLs into the Find New Keywords area and choosing ‘Entire site’ from the drop-down menu and ‘steal’ some fresh keyword ideas
  • Type a location into the filter at the top to get estimated impressions for local areas, even specific cities
  • The Devices section tells you what impressions come from which device category, so you have an idea of what to optimise for mobile


It has its limitations, but Google Keyword Planner is a powerful and relevant tool, offering significant insights which you would struggle to find elsewhere, even with other keyword research functions. Read more about how PPC can work for your business.

Talk to us at Front Page if you’d like to discuss using it in more detail.